OPEN LETTER TO MAYOR JOHN TORY AND TORONTO CITY COUNCIL

Re: Call for due diligence and public hearing on proposed subway upload

February 21, 2019

We urge you to defend our local subway system and the Toronto Transit Commission.

The Premier’s plan to “upload” a multi-billion-dollar asset, heavily paid for by Toronto taxpayers and commuters for decades, will weaken the City in several critical ways:

  • Loss of efficiency: Detaching the most profitable part of an integrated system will result in operational disconnects and service chaos, working against system integration. Local feeder lines will face funding predicaments.
  • Loss of planning power: Toronto will no longer be able to set priorities for new capital projects, and will lose the ability to leverage TTC-owned land, station and real estate assets.
  • Loss of future investment: In relinquishing these transit and land assets, the City will lose the potential to generate revenue (for example through long-term land leases and/or joint development projects) that could be used to invest in city priorities such as more affordable housing, transit, mobility services, parks, etc.

The consequences of this decision will be felt by Torontonians for decades to come, and will have an impact on the political legacies of the present Mayor and City Council members.

The Province has not shared its plans; certainly, no evidence has been offered to explain how the upload will improve transit. So consider the precedents. In New York City, the state-controlled Metropolitan Transit Authority, created in 1965, has done nothing to improve investment, operations, or the quality of governance for the MTA. In Australia and the UK, subway privatization (potentially in the provincial government’s plan) has had dire results for riders.

The TTC—the second-largest system in North America—has been recognized as a leading transit agency. It is fundamental to our city and its economy. Toronto is the primary engine of growth for the region, and what happens in Toronto has enormous impact.

Before proceeding with any further with discussions with the Province, as per the Terms of Reference, the City must demand complete transparency on the Province’s ideas and plans, and insist that the TTC host public meetings to communicate to Torontonians the full range of implications of the upload. Toronto City Council must also make negotiations with the Province contingent on sufficient time being allowed for a due diligence process, and a viable business case that includes a fair and accurate assessment of the value of the TTC’s current and potential assets.

 

Signed,

Maria Augimeri, Former Toronto City Councillor, TTC Chair, TTC Commissioner

Paul Bedford, Former Chief Planner, City of Toronto

Matthew Blackett, Publisher, Spacing

Larry S. Bourne, Professor Emeritus, University of Toronto

Alan Broadbent

Cherise Burda

Robin Cardozo

David Crombie, Former Mayor, City of Toronto

David Crowley

Janet Davis, Former Toronto City Councillor

Sarah Doucette, Former Toronto City Councillor

Robin Edger, Regional Director, Ontario, Pembina Institute

Art Eggleton, Former Mayor, City of Toronto

Richard Florida

Ken Greenberg

Barbara Hall, Former Mayor, City of Toronto

Peter Halsall

Harbord Village Residents’ Association

Dr. Kofi Hope

David Hulchanski, Professor, University of Toronto

Richard Joy

Jennifer Keesmaat, Former Chief Planner, City of Toronto

Matthew Kellway, Former MP, East York-Beaches

Geoff Kettel, Co-Chair, Federation of North Toronto Residents Associations

Ed Levy

Cameron MacLeod, Executive Director, CodeRedTO

Andy Manahan

Joe Mihevc, Former Toronto City Councillor, Vice-Chair of TTC Board of Commissioners, TTC Commissioner

Steve Munro, Transit Advocate

Richard Peddie, Former President and CEO, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment

Gil Penalosa, Founder & Chair, 8 80 Cities

Bob Ramsay, RamsayInc.

John Sewell, Former Mayor, City of Toronto

Dr. Richard Soberman

The David Suzuki Foundation

Adam Vaughan, MP, Spadina-Fort York

Patricia Wood, Professor, York University

 

CONTACT

There is no central contact for media requests; please direct all media inquiries and interview requests to signatories directly. As a signatory to the letter, CodeRedTO is posting the release and letter as a service in the interests of the best possible circulation of the letter.

 

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